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Paedophiles, dirty old men and the age of consent

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The recent case of Jimmy Savile (info here for those not familiar) as well as the 15 year old schoolgirl Megan Stammers running away to France (info) has had me thinking, and reading quite a lot about the abuse of children, as well as thinking, what exactly is a paedophile?

 

First of all, in the Jimmy Savile case, we hear that many people had heard of rumours that he slept with underage guests on his shows. But no-one did anything about it, because they felt he was too powerful. Esther Rantzen, the founder of the charity ChildLine, says that she knew, but never felt in a position to do anything about it. Katy Brand in the Telegraph says:

 

It wasn't until I watched a Sky news interview with ‘Dame That's Life’ that I started getting really angry with her. Looking uncomfortable, she was clearly choosing her words carefully as the reporter asked her the obvious questions: 'What did you know? When did you know it? Couldn't you have said something? You started ChildLine for goodness sake, why didn't you do something?' (I am paraphrasing a little here, but only a little).

 

Esther's replies left my jaw on the floor. She started by saying that until now it had 'only been one single child's word against the word of a television icon', implying that this meant it was impossible to verify. She went on to say that now it was 'five adult women' who had come forward it was easier, and here was the part that started to make my blood boil, that they were 'cool, credible, sensible women', who through their lack of emotion were 'convincing' to Esther, and so she had started to believe there was some truth to it all. Really? Really, Esther? So, for you to believe allegations of child abuse, it can't only be 'one single child' saying it? And the victims have to be 'cool, credible and sensible' in order to be 'convincing'? And there has to be more than one, and they must never have met one another? Really? Isn't that kind of attitude exactly what you have been campaigning against all your professional life?

 

The reporter then asked her why she hadn't raised the rumours with anyone at the BBC. Esther's response was that it 'wasn't relevant to anything I was working on at the time'. What, like ChildLine? She then said she was 'only a guest' on Savile's show, effectively suggesting that child abuse was somebody else's department. Exactly whose department we'll never know, as the department of the person who was setting up ChildLine seemed to consider it 'irrelevant'.

 

Another article, by Grace Dent in The Independent, discusses how back in the 70s and 80s there was more of a culture of "dirty old men" and it is only since the 90s we have seen the widespread usage of the word paedophile.

 

My memories of the 80s are that schoolgirls were by and large fair game as long as they were vaguely post-pubescent. Grass on the pitch, ho ho etc. Cars would pull up at the school gate to collect “girlfriends”. The family planning centre dished out pills willy-nilly. The age of consent was treated much as wearing your seatbelt or driving home when hammered. A petty law. I mean, blimey, these men with teen girls weren’t paedophiles! These weren’t your common or garden sexual perverts in bi-focal lenses and raincoats loitering by infant school railings waiting for handstand season. These were simply older guys, totally well-adjusted, in their thirties and forties who seemed to surround themselves with young women of circa O-level age and get them drunk and have sex with them. Nothing to see here.

 

I’d be happier to hear strident plans to protect and listen to young women in the future, strident plans to stop older men manipulating younger teenage girls, national outrage about sex trafficking of teens in this country now. If you’re 42 with a 17-year-old girlfriend, well you’re legally in the clear, but I still find you vaguely revolting.

 

This is what made me think back to the Megan Stammers case. Do we class the 30 year old teacher, who fell in love with a 15 year old, a paedophile? The same word we'd call someone who watches child pornography and rapes four year olds? Technically, he is, but should he be? Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones married an 18 year old in 1989 who he had been dating since she was 13. People found it dodgy, but never has he been referred to as "Paedo Bill Wyman."

 

Jonathan King, pop music impresario, was jailed in the early 2000s for the "assault" of teenage boys in the 80s. He protests his innocence, saying the age of consent for homosexuals at that time was 21, five years above that for heterosexuals, 16. He also said he ignored this and would class the age of consent at 16, and if he slept with anyone younger, it was due to them lying about their age to him. Whether you think he is in the wrong or not, this is an interesting interview with him. The main point I want to make here, is now he is released, he is on the Sex Offenders' Register, which means he can't work with under 18s. But, he can sleep with anyone 16 or over. So in terms of work, you're classed as an adult when you're over 18, but in terms of sex, you're an adult at 18.

 

A few questions:

 

What would you class as a paedophile?

 

What is the age of consent in your country? What do you think it should be?

 

Should all sex with those underage be classed as rape, or are there situations where it is OK?

 

What are your thoughts on the cases mentioned above?

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Good topic, but an absolute minefield.

 

One thing I'm going to point out though:

 

 

 

First of all, in the Jimmy Savile case, we hear that many people had heard of rumours that he slept with underage guests on his shows. But no-one did anything about it, because they felt he was too powerful. Esther Rantzen, the founder of the charity ChildLine, says that she knew, but never felt in a position to do anything about it.

 

 

 

 

Esther Rantzen was for years one of the most feared people at the BBC, but never during Savile's heyday. If she wanted to out him as a Paedophile, she could have done so in the last 20 years or so without any trouble whatsoever, I find her excuses disingenuous.

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Forgive me for not remembering my sources, but I am under the impression that post- and pre-pubescent minors are different cans of worms, morally and perhaps legally? It's never really a great thing to say, but I do think that it is worse for a pre-pubescent minor to be involved sexually with an adult.

 

I also think that if there are two 15 year old post-pubescent teenagers who have been in a relationship for 4 years who finally decide that they know each other well enough to have sex... well that's ok.

 

As for teh cases mentioned - it's not just whether a minor is ready for sex physically but it's the fact that an adult has a responsibility to not take advantage of a child. Regardless of the physical aspect there is the limitations on the experiences a youth has had in all other aspects of a relationship. It is extremely hard to find any other way to see these instances except that they are of adults taking advantage of children. If the 30 year old was so in love then do things above board, wait a few years, etc.

 

I would class a paedophile as someone who is attracted to children. I would class children as pre-pubescent. I would not assimilate someone who unknowingly had sex with a minor with someone who lures, targets, grooms, predates, 'victimises' for sex.

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Yeah I forgot to say, with the Megan Stammers case, it is totally wrong because the teacher was in a position of responsibility, and he'd be breaking the law even if she was over 16.

 

But what if a 15 year old girl went to a pub pretending to be older and hooked up with a 30 year old? Would the 30 year old be guilty of having sex with a minor in your opinion? Have they 'raped' the 15 year old? Because in the eyes of the law, they have, even though the 15 year old is consenting, but our law says 15 year olds don't have the capacity to consent.

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Yes he would still be guilty - you can't say he didn't sleep with a minor if he did. As to what a potential punishment should be? Not the same punishment as in the previous scenario.

 

If someone enjoyed having sex with someone who was legally an adult but physically immature, is that ok?

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Well yes, technically, they did it, but if it was unknowlingly, through deception on the 15 year old's part - should there be any guilt? I don't think there really should be any charge in that situation. It's all down to the circumstances to me - if it was abusing a position or responsibility, or the person DID know they were underage, I would say charge them with sex with a minor. But it's not always so black and white - it can take two to tango, as they say.

 

In regards to your second point, what do you mean by physically immature? A 16 year old who hasn't gone through puberty yet?

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In regards to your second point, what do you mean by physically immature? A 16 year old who hasn't gone through puberty yet?

 

Good question.

 

 

What about adults with mental ages below the age of consent?

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What would you class as a paedophile?

I would class a paedophile as anybody who touches up a child younger than the age of consent (and even then, that worries me at what age it is).

 

What is the age of consent in your country? What do you think it should be?

 

In my country, the age of consent is 16 and I think it should be 18 but kids will shag each other whatever the law says. There were a couple of kids at my school who had sex and I was in Year 8 (and it's not a Jay from Inbetweeners moment either, it did happen). I think that at the age of 18, you know your head more. There was definitely a difference between the 16 year old me and the 18 year old me.

 

Should all sex with those underage be classed as rape, or are there situations where it is OK?

 

It all depends on their age. I mean, if there's a couple of years between them then both are just as bad. However, if one person is 21 and the other is 14 or something then yeah, maybe it should be classed as rape. If the 14 year old consents and says yes without pressure, it shouldn't be classed as rape (but 21 should be charged still) BUT the 21 year old should be charged for taking advantage, which is something that should be pointed out. Rape means forced sex.

 

What are your thoughts on the cases mentioned above?

 

With the Jimmy Saville one, I just found it weird how they all decide to come out with this now and not whilst he was alive. I mean, why not come out with this two years ago or five years ago. They couldn't be scared of a very old man then! I've not actually seen the show but I just found that weird. I'm not saying, for a second, that it didn't happen but it just seems weird. Does anybody know why they didn't come out with this before?

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There is technically a term for people who are sexually attracted to teenagers who are 'developed' (I hate that term, makes them sound like Polaroids) but just not legally of age. I should really remember the term, but I don't...

 

Legally the implications are along the same lines as paedophilia but in common linguistic usage they tend to fall under the same term.

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The whole Megan Stammers case pisses me off. Yes in the eyes of the law the guy was wrong but let's not for a second think she's innocent in all this. How much millions was wasted in tax payers money for girl to decide to swan off only to be declared missing. She wasn't 'missing', she wanted to leave. I absolutely understand where her parents are coming from, they had no idea what their daughter was up to. The teacher should be dealt with as the law dictates, I just don't like that she gets off with no consequences and is considered the innocent party, she knew full well what she was doing, she wasn't forced against her will. To me, that makes mockery of people like missing little girl from Wales.

 

That may sound harsh but something similar happened at my school between a teacher and a pupil I knew and in that case the pupil was the one doing all the running. Obviously the teacher is wrong, I don't dispute that but the law should be there to deal with the kids too.

 

Technically it is rape, but again it's the wording of the law. We all know it isn't, most of the kids in these cases are just as complicit as the adult. I've always classed rape as sex against your will, that isn't the case in the majority of these teacher/pupil relationships.

Edited by Jon

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I think the whole Exposure program was disgusting. They're acting like he's already been convicted. It hasn't even gone to court, there hasn't been a police enquiry, yet people are already judging him as guilty. Great society we live in.

 

Also why is it that somebody accuses another person as a rapist/paedophile, the accused is publicly named, yet the accuser is given anonymity? The accused could be found innocent yet their reputation and life is still ruined, while the accuser walks away with nobody the wiser. Both should be given anonymity until the final verdict is revealed.

 

There is technically a term for people who are sexually attracted to teenagers who are 'developed' (I hate that term, makes them sound like Polaroids) but just not legally of age. I should really remember the term, but I don't...

 

Hebephile or ephebophile.

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I think the whole Exposure program was disgusting. They're acting like he's already been convicted. It hasn't even gone to court, there hasn't been a police enquiry, yet people are already judging him as guilty. Great society we live in.

 

Also why is it that somebody accuses another person as a rapist/paedophile, the accused is publicly named, yet the accuser is given anonymity? The accused could be found innocent yet their reputation and life is still ruined, while the accuser walks away with nobody the wiser. Both should be given anonymity until the final verdict is revealed.

 

 

 

Hebephile or ephebophile.

 

Yeah. No pointing in preaching innocent until proven guilty if it's not going to be followed.

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As far as Im aware, for teachers at least, they are bringing in a law for anonymity during investigations of child abuse, as many teachers have had their reputations ruined by untrue allegations. In the case of Megan Stammers, the press moaned that Forrest, the teacher, would have been granted anonymity under the new law, but the government/police stressed that it would be lifted in situations like this, which was an abduction case rather than a paedophilia case.

 

Reporting restrictions are one of the most important things in upholding our justice system, but it is always on a fine balance. Justice must be seen to be done, but the rights of both the accused and the accuser must be taken into account as well.

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Just one point I wanted to bring up, is that:

 

Society seems fine, and almost jokes along with older women saying they find teenage boys attractive, but if it's the other way round there's an outcry.

 

I was watching The Wright Stuff one time and they were talking about One Direction... and how it's fine for middle aged women to say how fit Harry Styles is, but Matthew Wright said that if he'd made the same comment about one of Little Mix for example, there would be gasps and everyone would think of him as a dirty old man.

 

I caught a bit of the US X-Factor the other night and a young boy walks out... they ask him his age, he says 13, and instead of all the girls and women in the audience going 'awwwww'... everybody screams. And I was actually pretty shocked. He's a 13 year old boy and everyone's screaming over him? The only people who should be doing that are 13-14 year old girls!

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As Moogle points out, technically padeophilia is only attraction to actual children, i.e. before puberty. Hebephilia is attraction to kids in puberty (early teens), and ephebophilia is attraction to young people in their adolescence (late teens).

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My main gripe is that Ephebophilia tends to be treated the same as Paedophilia.

 

One is engaging in sex with someone too young for it (both physically and mentally) and who can easily become scarred for life in several ways. Basically, it can't be anything other than a worse version of rape.

With developed teenagers, you're essentially involving yourself with a beginner who is likely to not lead their sex life in the most mature or responsible manner, thus, it's up to the experienced adult to take responsibility for the consequences of the relationship (make sure sex is not rushed, that it's fully consensual, etc.)

 

It bothers me that both are lumped by the same name, when one is so much clearly the worse crime.

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I've got a lot of sympathy with a teacher who genuinely falls in love with a pupil (say, a 15- or 16-year old). If someone destroys their career and invites a criminal record just for love, I think it's safe to assume they're head over heels. Unwise, yes, but passion is the opposite of rationality. Furthermore, a 15-year old could be more mature than a 19-year old in every possible way. "If there's grass on the pitch..." may be flippant, but it resonates for a reason.

 

Paedophiles, on the other hand, are completely different. If someone deliberately seeks out children, just for their own gratification, without caring about their feelings, of course they're a paedophile; a molester.

 

Do you know what I dislike just as much as paedophiles? The culture of cover-ups. The culture of people in high places pulling strings for their mates. If the Jimmy Savile case has confirmed one thing, it's not just that there are dirty old men, but also that the masses are never really told the truth about the world until it's far too late.

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I re-iterate a lot of the points here...a lot of cases it seems like there should be some sort of division between people seeking out and abusing small children and then the cases where an older person runs away/falls in love/has sex with someone in their teens, with consent etc. It's just a minefield, as many said.

 

The issue is somewhat close to home (a relative) who was part of a vague situation. Though it was legal, just frowned upon due to the situation (married teacher and pupil). It's pretty much Notes on a Scandal. But that was a result of a failing marriage and various personal issues that drove these people together, y'know? It was just a terrible situation cause the pres attention/professionalism/laws around the profession blaaa.

 

It is hard because as someone said, a 15-year old can be much more mature/intelligent/head screwed on than a 19-year old. But I guess the law can't be on a purely individual basis or assess someone's personality in such a way, to see if it was 'ok'. Meh. I mean I've been with older people than myself, and if I imagined I was 3 years younger than I was at the time, I was pretty much exactly the same in terms of how I thought. But not everyone is.

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This is a very good topic and as said a complete minefield that the main stream seem unwilling even venture into for a reasoned discussion.

 

The Megan Stammers case really really annoyed the living hell out of me, for 7 months before leaving the teacher and Megan were in a relationship, the school knew, other pupils knew, social services and the police apparently knew, yet the parents didn't....really? i mean really? either thats a lie to further the manhunt or the mother was deluded. Further to that the fact it was going on for 7 months leads one to believe it was a genuine case of two people falling in love, and i just wished they'd waited till she was 16 as then it would have been less of an issue, instead he's been vilified as some sort of monster and she has got of scott free!

Its quite plain to see they both were involved in this, they both planned this and furthermore it wasn't an abduction case! i wouldn't be surprised if she stood by him and they marry at a later stage, its not the first time this has happened. Source 1 Source 2 - apologies for DM wanted a better one

 

As for the Jimmy Saville case.....

uhhh this is a mine field.

 

Firstly i've yet to watch this so my opinions are formed from colleagues, friends and my parents who have watched it, i plan on watching it tonight so i can fully comment, so correct me if i've been given false facts

 

*some of the girls involved stayed with Savile as part of his entourage till the age of 20

*they physically went back to the bbc etc to see Savile where he "abused" them

*Jimmy's assets are currently being sold off

*They were paid for their many interviews

*The police have investigated claims in the past and didn't find enough evidence to corroborate them

 

I've had multiple people reiterate the above to me, so for now i'm taking them to have been reported.

 

From what i've read across the news spectrum there are a lot of "what if's", "i heard", "he's always been wierd" with very little in the way of actual facts. I don't doubt for one second that Saville will have had sex with some of these women at some point in their lives, i do however wonder about the accuracy of their stories in particular to their ages, and i do have to above all question was it actually abuse.

From what i can see these (some of) women freely went to see Savile, a big star at the time, one who was a known womaniser, and had relations with him on multiple occasions of their own free will and in several cases until they were far from teenagers, and given this i do question is this actually abuse or is this a case of "oh i regret that now"

Not to mention these alleged pedophilic incidents took place at the height of his fame, and did not continue, which doesn't at all seem like the actions of a pedophile, as they continue to abuse and view abusive materials throughout their lives

Then there is the fact these have only come out when the other side of the story cannot be told given jimmy is dead, i do have to question the timing.

With no Jimmy to counter these claims a witch hunt is ensuing unchecked.

I do have to wonder is this a monetary effort to grab some money either from his estate or in general from paid interviews, from past loves of Jimmy's who feel hard done by.

 

I suppose its possible that their claims regarding their ages when this happened are true, which could be down to a shag first ask questions later attitude that was prevalent through out the 60s and 70s, or it could be that he actually knew and just liked developed teens. In which case it does seem that some of these women were willing and able partners especially to keep going back to see him over a long period of time.

 

Then on the other hand maybe he did knowingly have sex with underage girls and did do all the things that these people claim, he has always been a really eccentric bloke, i remember Louis Theroux's interview being very odd.

 

I honestly don't know what to believe given we are only getting one half of the story. I do however think that people are now involved in a witch hunt, that some of these people have a financial target in mind, and that generally all these stories play on an eccentric playboys actions and that its quite unbelievable that if this is all true one man managed to cover it up, keep papers quiet (who would have made millions off the stories), put the fear of god into other out spoken bbc stars (i'm looking at you child line founder Estha!*)

 

There is probably an element of truth to all of this, how big an element we will never know for certain, but people seem to have made up their minds.

 

So much for innocent until proven guilty,

Director General George Entwistle said all "outstanding questions" would be addressed - but only after "police had finished everything they have to do".

 

He also apologised to women involved "for what they've had to endure here".

Nothing as yet has been proven but the media have already decided.

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The whole system needs looked at. As people have said before the age of consent is a major point.

 

A 15 year old couple could have been going out for a couple of years, one of them turns 16 and they decide to have sex. It is a mutual decision and they both want to do it. The 15 year olds parent find out and complains. The boy is named and shamed, put on the sex offenders list for doing what couples all over the world do.

 

Megan Stammers:

 

Megan should be expelled from her school for this, it was obviously a conscious decision on her part to go to France as she wasn't forced. A 15 year old is very capable of making up her own mind. Criminal responsiblilty is deemed to be the age of 10 in England and Wales and after that age are tried as an adult. From that law alone it should be seen as the girl was making up her own mind.

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ecG29.jpg

 

 

And right next so said article...Mila Kunis topless, Nicole Scherzinger and Cheryl Cole's cleavage and an article that essentially says "look at this fit 15 year old".

 

They are kind of right about the last one (she is attractive and she does looks older than 15), they complain about her "provocative" clothing (erm..that isn't provocative) and the article seems to suggest that it's the girl's "fault" for looking nice, and she's morally wrong for doing it.

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Is that dress really 'the edgiest of fashions'? REALLY?!

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Another thing - and this might be very controversial: I actually feel sorry for paedophiles. They indubitably know that they're seen as inhuman monsters, and it's essentially because of something they don't have any control over. I don't like the fact that we see the concept of being physically attracted to a child as morally wrong in and of itself. If they simply keep it to themselves and don't actually do anything to any children, I must honestly say I'm not bothered. Of course, the paedophiles we hear about don't keep it to themselves, they act on it, and that's when it becomes morally wrong. I'm curious as to why they're driven to do such despicable things. Is the drive too overpowering? Do they perhaps feel forced into that role by society's prejudices? In either case, my point is that I would like to see more support for paedophiles (good luck to the guy who has to sell that slogan :heh:). They say that prevention is the best cure, so why don't we focus more on trying to help paedophiles so they don't do these horrible deeds in the first place? Maybe there is support somewhere, but in that case it's hidden away in favour of painting paedophiles as the worst beings on Earth, and I find that rather unfair. It's acting on it that makes them horrible people, not simply being it.

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Many people (and I mean psychologists) view paedophilia as a sexuality. In the same way that hetero's are attracted to people of the opposite sex, and homo's are attracted to people of the same sex, paedo's are attracted to pre-pubescent children. In this respect we shouldn't condemn people for being paedophiles. However like Dannyboy, said, we should condemn them for acting out in it. I wouldn't condemn a man for being a homosexual, but I would condemn him for raping another man to fulfil his sexual desires. Obviously a gay man can have consensual sex, this isn't the case for paedophiles.

 

Unless we start pimping out Janette Krankie.

Edited by MoogleViper

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